Shows and events- to exhibit or not?

Scarcely a day goes past without me being invited to attend a trade show, business expo, seminar, event or exhibition. And almost always there are ‘not to be missed’ opportunities to take some space and exhibit to the guaranteed vast numbers of high quality decision makers all looking to buy the kinds of products and services I offer.
When I talk to clients, it seems they experience something similar and we often have conversations about which shows to go to, how much space to take, display materials etc. etc.
So how do we decide where to go and what to do there? Here are 10 questions that might help:
Why go? What would be a good result from the event – are we there to sell, research, announce something or just to build profile?
How will we measure the results? What KPIs can we track quickly and at minimal cost to give us an early indicator of success?
Who are we expecting to see there? Who is exhibiting, what kind of people visit? Are they decision makers, gathering information or just having a nice day out?
Is there a project plan? Or will there be last-minute panics and extra costs?
Have we properly costed the event? Have we included the space, display materials, equipment, literature, manning costs, merchandise, promotion, travel expenses, accomodation …?
Who is going to get the right people there? Do we leave visitor marketing to the event organiser or invite the people we really want to see ourselves?
Does our stand communicate well? Does it draw in visitors from a distance?
Are we making best use of the space? Do we have an area to meet people, is there room for all our people and visitors, does it look welcoming?
Have we got the right people on the stand? When we add up how much we have invested to bring someone to our stand, are we confident that we’ve got the right person to meet them?
Do we follow up and review? Is there a robust process that we are committed to for following up on leads and reviewing the effectiveness of the event?
Happy exhibiting,